It’s easy to feel like you’re being naive and idealistic in terms of your big goals. But you can, and should, be incredibly optimistic and audacious in terms of the big picture of what you want. Then, by all means, be pragmatic in terms of what you need to do in the short term…
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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Am I being unrealistic? #askanna
Hello there, welcome back. I’m your host, Anna Lundberg, and today I’m answering the question, Am I being unrealistic? Am I being unrealistic? So this is a question I get. And again, again, from clients, and I hear it from people beyond my immediate sphere. Oh, my goodness, I’m just being naive. This will never work. Who am I to think that, you know, am I being too demanding to want to have at all to have both money and flexibility or fulfilling work that also pays the bills? You know, is it unrealistic to think that I could become a successful speaker or an author or live by the sea? Or whatever it is, right? Am I being unrealistic? So this is the question we’re answering today. And it might seem odd, because it’s such a general question. Of course, it depends on what your specific goal is, as to whether the answer is yes or no. The other thing is that I can’t actually answer that question, right? Because it completely depends on so many things, your current situation, the amount of dedicated effort you’re willing to put in your your health, your time, your commitment, your family support, and so on. Right. So I could of course, never guarantee an outcome in my program, I can’t tell you yes, this will work. Another piece that I always tell people is it doesn’t matter how successful I am, or someone else’s, yes, by all means, be inspired by someone else. But you have no idea what it took to get there. You have no idea. If it’s going to work for you. The fact that it worked for me in a particular way, 10 years ago, doesn’t mean it will work exactly like that today for you. In particular, the big sort of gurus and business coaching and all this in this space, generally worked as as ever, you know, for many years behind the scenes, but also they started a long time ago, when when the digital marketing landscape was very different.
For example, born January however, the answer the question, Am I being run? unrealistic? Here’s my answer. I believe you can be pretty much as unrealistic or rather idealistic and optimistic as you want in the long term. Big picture, big vision, dream big, right, that will inspire you. It’ll paint this really vivid picture of where you want to get to. And importantly, and absolutely, practically, what seems impossible to do today or tomorrow can be perfectly reasonable. If you extend the timeframe write something that seems impossible to do by next week to earn 100k to be a TED speaker, it’s unlikely by next week to publish a book to have X number of followers to speak on this stage to travel to that place, whatever is maybe not possible today. Tomorrow, maybe it is, by the way, in case in which case, maybe you’re not dreaming big enough. But generally, I probably can’t do it today, tomorrow, next week, next month, maybe not even in this next year. And yes, if I suddenly, or rather not suddenly, gradually extend that timeframe to three years, five years, 10 years or a lifetime? Doesn’t that become possible? Now it makes it harder in a way to be inspired, because it’s so far off. And of course, you then need to break that big dream into smaller steps.
But what’s exciting is that something that seems really far off, can then become absolutely possible.
So the answer is if you’re talking generally about goals, about your vision about what you really want, then absolutely. Be idealistic, be optimistic optimism, as having Keller said, is so important for resilience for success. You have to believe it’s possible. Now, of course, there’s a survivor’s bias that the successful people in the world will say, Oh, I believed in it, and I didn’t give up and so on. And I’m sure there are, you know, 90% of the other people who also believed in it and didn’t give up unfortunately, didn’t make it but there are so many other factors at work that right so you absolutely have to have that ingredient of believing it’s possible and certainly of having articulated the dream, knowing what that bigger picture vision is because if you don’t know what you want, how on earth are you ever going to get there? So yes, be idealistic in the long term. You’re not being unrealistic. If we’re talking about a Big Picture time frame of several years, right. I can help you get there someone else can help you. You might even be able to get there on your own, most likely if you get the right resources you put in the effort, and your patient and so on, right? However, if you’re talking a shorter timeframe, then the answer is maybe you are being unrealistic. And definitely you need to consider being more pragmatic in the short term. Because look, you can’t get rid of pre existing commitments right away, right, you can’t create a three day working week just like that with a snap of your fingers. You can’t start setting boundaries arbitrarily. Without giving people warning, you know, it takes some time to withdraw from things that you no longer want to be engaged with to perhaps, you know, increase your savings, cut down on expenses, work on building an audience, craft your messaging, whatever it is, draft the book you want to publish, right?
So there are things that take time to do and you can’t get the result right away.
So do what you have to do in the short term, I think it was Oprah said something like, do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do, right? Do we have to do in the short term so that you can still keep your head floating, whatever that looks like whether it’s financially or in terms of commitments, family, and so on. But and this is a big bar, make sure that you’re still keeping an eye on the prize, right still got half a half an eye on that big picture vision, you have to keep taking, however, small steps towards the bigger goal. This is the balance, we’re always negotiating in the business accelerator, people have already a business, we’re trying to focus on the big picture legacy of where we want the business to be. And being more of a thought leader growing the impact, writing books, podcasts, and so on that are longer term, creating new programs while making sure that we’re still bringing in the income in the short term, right. I had a conversation with Karen, just the other day where we talked about the belief and that this is absolutely possible for you. However, in the meantime, think of how can you create some creative solutions to get some cash injections, right? I can put out an extra post saying, Hey, I’m taking on clients. So and I can lean in and we’ll talk about this in a few weeks, I can lean in and take more action, if I need in the next few weeks months.
Or if I’d like to rather increase my income, let’s say right, I can sort of front load the year taking having more marketing activities going on having more sales events, having more conversations and so on. But in the meantime, I will definitely make sure I’m still working on my book, and you know, and reflecting on the bigger picture and so on so am I being unrealistic look in the long term, probably not because pretty much anything is possible. Now there are some things I think are still impossible for me, I can’t I can no longer become an astronaut. I’ve gone a different route. In my childhood ambition of being astronaut is probably not feasible physically, mentally, although actually if I had a lot of money, I could probably pay to go up now. So so maybe I’m being a being pessimistic there. Maybe it’s totally possible for me to be an astronaut. Who knows? Let’s let’s find out in a few years time. But still, I would posit, okay, let’s take another example. professional ballerina, I can guarantee you that I can no longer be a professional ballerina wasn’t really a meaningful goal for me. But let’s face it most little. And little children, little girls at one point dreamed of being a ballerina. And that’s not possible, certainly now with my flexibility and age, and so on. Right?
So yes, some things are impossible, but most of the things that we’re talking about here, if you dare to admit them to yourself are not that crazy.
And some of them you’d be surprised to think actually, you could you could make them happen far more quickly than than you thought. So in the long term, absolutely. It’s not unrealistic, be idealistic, be as optimistic and positive and rose tinted glasses as you possibly can. In the short term. However, if you think this is going to work, you know, again, and again, we get disappointed that things take longer than we thought they did. Whether it’s writing a book, or creating a program or setting the program or running a webinar, like the first time, you’ll just get a few people. And it just, you know, even when you get the media presence, suddenly you get a publication, you get a story published, oh my goodness, game changer. I’m going to be rich and famous. And then nothing really happens is the key accumulation of things. It’s the cumulative advantage.
There’s a book called cumulative advantage, which talks about this. It’s the little actions you’re taking over time that build up that snowball of momentum, right? So in the short term, be pragmatic. Now importantly, here, it’s about not succumbing to the black and white thinking. And if you’re interested in this, if you go back to Episode 106 did a whole episode on this the black and white thinking, but I think the tendency is, oh, this is not working. So I’ll go straight, you know, let the pendulum swing all the way to the other end of the spectrum. So my fledgling business is not going so well. So I’m going to stop the business and go all in and apply for jobs, rather than let me take on some clients who aren’t ideal right now. But actually that will come For the money coming in while I work on the bigger picture business, right? So being pragmatic in the short term, finding ways to get whatever it is you need, and it might be money, it might be rest, it might be focusing on your family, you know, right now might not be the moment when you can get super ambitious and crazy about your goals from a work perspective. And we can talk about having it all, and a fellow mother coach and I talked about this, that you can have it all, but perhaps not at the same time.
So this whole idea of balance is balanced over a bigger timeframe than just every day, every day is not going to be perfectly balanced.
Some days, I have a really productive effective work day Things are going really well. And maybe I don’t feel like the motherhood piece, because I haven’t been present with the kids or I’ve been annoyed at the kids after a long day. You know, they’ve been at nursery all day, I haven’t really seen them. So the the balance is sort of weighing in favor of the workpiece. Other days, I’ve got the kids at home, I don’t get any work done, which I shouldn’t be trying to do. There’s no point to and I’ve got the kids. And maybe we’ve had a wonderful day out together, and beautiful family moments, but I haven’t progressed on my goals, right. And that’s very simplistic thinking, it’s just either I’m a mother or I’m in my business. Of course, there are many more nuances to this. But there will be ups and downs, the pendulum will swing will be adjusting and shifting and so on. And that’s absolutely fine. And that’s part of the ongoing harmonization finding those synergies between the two. But again, it’s not thinking that, Oh, well, if I can’t do this crazy full on goal over here, then I’ve got to accept that I’m stuck here forever. Or, well, either I build this incredible dream, perfect thing and live by I always take my own examples. But I’d live by the sea now. So I’m living my dream, live by the sea and best selling author and zone is so far off, and I’m realistic.
Or I stay in this job or this business or unhappy, I’m unhappy, I’m bored, I’m burnt out, you know, one end of the spectrum or the other. And we just succumb to that black and white thinking that it’s either I stay here stuck and unhappy. Or I do this crazy thing under the spectrum. And it’s not possible to have all the many nuances and steps that actually exist between the two. And the real work happens when we dust off that massive dream, take it off the shelf, dust it off, have a look at it, examine it in more detail, break it into its constituent parts, build up a newer, more meaningful version of that goal and start working towards that goal. I’ve talked about often this idea of the best selling author that okay, look, do we want to be Stephen King and have the New York Times bestseller list books and so on? Is that really the meaningful driver? Maybe. But really, it’s about writing because we love writing. It’s about having the feel of a book in your hand. Because you’ve produced something incredible, it’s knowing that people are reading and getting value from what you’re writing, right? There are many more metrics of success to writing and yes, perhaps earning some money, but the money from the books, you know, my books don’t sell a huge amount. But they then feed into my coaching programs. And if I wrote let’s say 10 books that would add up to a nice, tidy little income as well. It’s less sexy than the big, audacious, crazy goal that seems so shiny and perfect. But breaking it down into smaller parts, taking small steps is really, really powerful. And again, being pragmatic in the short term. So one more time everybody say it with me idealism the long term pragmatism in the short term, so no, you’re not being unrealistic. If you’re imagining this different life for yourself or specific kind of business, or you have some vision, however specific or general for the future, if the horizon if the time horizon is long enough. However, if you’re super impatient and think it’s gonna happen right away, then I’d really urge you to be more pragmatic, to maybe I don’t want to say to lower your ambitions, but certainly start smaller, except that it will take longer than you think, work towards that goal. And by the way, there’s there are I often talk about, there are two ways to get closer to your goal, right? The first is to take little steps in the direction of your goal. So if you’ve painted that beautiful vision of your life, start working towards that vision, while you pragmatically live your current life. Then, the second way of of actually achieving that goal is to bring elements of that life into your day to day. And one of the exercises I do with clients is your ideal day exercise. You paint this vivid picture of what you want your day to look like. And again, again, I get clients saying you know what, actually, either a that’s not far off from my current day, or B, I can see how I can bring elements of that into my day already. Right. So again, take steps towards the goal, but also look at how you can bring elements of that if you want to be a best selling author, well start writing maybe because that’s going to get you closer to that goal, but it also brings an element of that being a writer life into your life today, right. I’d love to hear what your audience
As goals, I’d love to hear what their big dream is, and of course help you out in finding a pragmatic way to get there over time.
So do let me know you can message me on your favorite social platform, you can email me at podcast at one step i.com. And of course, you can book a call as well, if you do want to chat about how I can support you. So that’s one step outside.com, forward slash call. But I hope that episode was inspiring and helpful to you. I will see you back here next week for an interview, I believe. And yeah, we’re nearing the end of the year. So we’ll be having some planning. So I’m envisioning for 2023. Few workshops coming up. So do keep an eye out on the different social channels get in touch, if you are thinking of working with me in the coming year as the spots are filling up. And I will see you next week. Bye for now. Are you at that point where you’re asking yourself? Is this really what I want to be doing the rest of my life? And the answer is a resounding no. But you’re not yet sure what you want to do and says, I get it. I was in your shoes back in 2013. When I took a good hard look at myself and my CV, and up until then I followed the conventional path. Good school, good university. Good job. I was also single while more and more friends around me were settling down with partners and babies. Now fast forward to today and I built a coaching and consulting business. I published two books with more on the way I’ve launched a podcast. But more than that, I’ve been able to travel the world I’ve made more time for friends and family. And I’ve designed and shaped a location 10 business and a lifestyle that’s 100% tailored to my own personal definition of success. Oh, and I’ve also moved countries I’ve fallen in love and I’ve had two beautiful little children. So if you want to redefine what success looks like for you, then get in touch to book a call one step outside.com forward slash call, one step outside.com forward slash call and I would like to help you do just that.
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If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring.